ShoWest: Disturbia, El Cantante, and Hot Fuzz Take Deux
by Alex Billington
March 19, 2007
This final piece from ShoWest last week covers the few films I screened and wanted to mention. Primarily I want to focus on Disturbia, which I enjoyed quite a damn bit. I also saw El Cantante, a biopic about salsa music and its frontrunner Hector Lavoe starring Jennifer Lopez, and Hot Fuzz for a second time, where I was joined by Ain't It Cool News' Quint, ComingSoon's Ed Douglas, and IESB's Robert Sanchez, who were all seeing it for a second time, too.
I'm not giving full reviews of each, as I'm not yet allowed, but I wanted to voice my opinion on Disturbia, and just how great it was, so much so that you should definitely see it opening day.
I do my best to be subjective, but I had a feeling from the first time I saw the trailer that Disturbia was going to be good. And this time I wasn't let down, I loved it. I honestly can't wait to see it again. It wasn't a full-on horror or thriller, it was much more playful and comedic throughout most of it than it was thrilling, all thanks to Shia LaBeouf. I've got a bone to pick with all of you who are skeptical about this - maybe the trailer was deceiving. After you see it maybe you won't exactly call it incredible, but it still was not bad at all.
This really is the first great thriller of 2007. It's just as disturbing and thrilling as it is fun and exciting. The trio of Shia LaBeouf, Aaron Yoo, and Sarah Roemer are a vibrant and wonderful combination on screen, and its these young actors that really make Disturbia work well. I said that I can't wait to watch it again, and it's true. Sure I really can't wait to stare at Sarah Roemer for 90 minutes again, but beyond her I just loved the atmosphere and the story. I may even go as far as to call this a sleeper hit, but I guess it's a few weeks away and the advertising push won't start until Spring Break is over. But I promise you that you won't be let down, so on April 13th, make sure you're in theaters seeing Disturbia!
The name translates to "The Singer" in English, and it's about salsa music frontrunner Hector Lavoe, who's voice turned salsa music into something incredible but his personal life became wrapped up in drugs. Although I had a good time enjoying the songs from the film, my biggest problem was just that it spent too much time focusing on Lavoe's personal life. It was nothing more than another look at a musician who got too much money and then eventually drugs consumed their life.
The editing was a bit troublesome, and it was much too long, but it still had some enjoyable moments, mainly anytime Marc Anthony, as Hector Lavoe, was singing. Beyond the great music, one of the most enjoyable parts of El Cantante was the subtitles. They were stylized and would fade in at various places on the screen, a very typographical maneuver. I've never seen them like that before and they added a lot for everyone who will see this and doesn't speak Spanish. In the end, I won't go out of my way to suggest it, but it still wasn't bad.
This is rare, but Hot Fuzz is one of those movies that gets better the second time. I knew what was coming, so I could laugh at the jokes more, and I started to catch more details and references. If you truly are a die hard fan of the Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost trio, you will see Hot Fuzz two times on opening day. I've already written my review and given the film high regards, and I can say it only got better the second time. Although I didn't call it as good as Shaun of the Dead after my first viewing, it is slowly inching its way up to that level. It's best stated by another review I heard somewhere: if you love zombie movies, Shaun of the Dead will still be better, if you love renegade cop movies, Hot Fuzz will be better.